By John Schweibacher
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The New Jersey Devils finished their western Canada road trip 1-1-1, dropping two straight games for the first time this season.
The Devils lost a seesaw affair against the Calgary Flames, 5-4 in a shootout on Sunday night.
The shootout was just the third ever between the clubs since the skills competition tiebreaker was introduced prior to the 2005-06 season:
— 11/5/17: Cgy 5, NJD 4; Matthew Tkachuk (SO winner)
— 11/22/14: Cgy 5, NJD 4; Jiri Hudler (SO winner)
— 11/24/10: NJD 2, Cgy 1; Ilya Kovalchuk (SO winner)
With the score tied at 1, Keith Kinkaid stopped Micheal Ferland’s penalty shot at 13:15 of the first period, the first penalty shot against the Devils this season.
Kinkaid has now stopped he has faced in his career. The other came against the Penguins’ Phil Kessel back on March 17, 2017, in a 6-4 loss at Pittsburgh.
With the game even at 4, Miles Wood was awarded a penalty shot at 13:54 of the third period, but was unsuccessful. Wood is now 0-for-2 in his career, the other coming back on Nov. 29, 2016, against Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck in a 3-2 loss in Winnipeg.
Sunday’s game was the first in club history that featured both the Devils and their opponent getting a penalty shot.
Nico Hischier had two assists in the loss and fellow rookie Jesper Bratt had one. Here are the point totals for the four Devils rookies:
— Bratt: 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists)
— Will Butcher: 12 points (12 assists)
— Hischier: 10 points (2 goals, 8 assists)
— Blake Coleman: 1 points (1 goal)
New Jersey’s 35 total points from rookies were the most in the NHL through Nov. 6:
— Devils: 35 points (8 goals, 27 assists)
— Boston: 32 points (11 goals, 21 assists)
— Arizona: 22 points (15 goals, 7 assists)
— Tampa Bay: 21 points (8 goals, 13 assists)
— Islanders: 20 points (4 goals, 16 assists)
— L.A. Kings: 20 points (9 goals, 11 assists)
Brian Gibbons scored his team-leading seventh goal midway through the second period to tie the game at 3. Gibbons, who had played in just 66 NHL games over the previous four seasons, was signed as a free agent on July 1.
According to the player game finder on hockey-reference.com, since the 1987-88 season, the only other Devils newcomer to score as many as seven goals in the team’s first 13 games of a season was Corey Millen, who netted seven over the first 12 games of the 1993-94 season after being acquired from the Kings that summer.
The Devils’ first road loss of the season happened on Friday, 6-3 to the Oilers at Rogers Place in Edmonton. The Devils were 5-0-0 away from home coming into the game. It was the third-longest streak without a road loss to begin a season in club history.
The Devils’ longest such streak happened back in 2009-10, when they began 9-0-0 on the road under Jacques Lemaire. New Jersey began the 2003-04 season by going 5-0-3 under Pat Burns.
Connor McDavid had three assists for the Oilers. The last Edmonton player to have three assists in game against New Jersey was Kelly Buchberger, back on March 12, 1993 in a 6-4 Oilers victory at Northlands Coliseum.
Wayne Gretzky had 10 games with at least three assists against the Devils while with Edmonton, including five in a 13-4 Oilers home win on Nov. 19, 1983.
The Devils began their road trip last Wednesday night with a 2-0 win in Vancouver.
Cory Schneider stopped 37 shots to earn his first shutout of the season and the 24th of his career. It was also his first against his former team.
The last time a Devils goalie shut out a club he previously played for was back on Jan. 3, 2003, when Corey Schwab, in his second stint with New Jersey, beat Toronto, 2-0. Schwab had played for the Maple Leafs the previous season.
Schneider’s shutout was just the fourth ever by a Devils goalie against the Canucks and the first for New Jersey in Vancouver:
— 11/1/17: Cory Schneider, 37 saves
— 1/13/06: Martin Brodeur, 26 saves
— 3/23/01: John Vanbiesbrouck, 23 saves
— 2/10/91: Chris Terreri, 27 saves
Plus: Brian Boyle. The veteran center made his season debut last Wednesday at Vancouver following a bout with leukemia.
Minus: Marcus Johansson. The veteran left wing was diagnosed with a concussion after crashing head first into the boards during the first period against the Canucks.